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Written Answers. - National Drugs Strategy.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 559 No. 6

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 83. Mr. O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey  if the Walk Tall and On my Own Two Feet programmes have been implemented in all schools in the local drugs task force areas; if the evaluation of said programmes has been completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24540/02]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey Action 32 of the national drugs strategy 2001 to 2008 requires that the Walk Tall and On My Own Two Feet programmes be implemented in all schools in local drugs task force, LDTF, areas in the context of the social, personal and health education programme of my Department during the school year 2001-02.

Since the launch of the strategy, specific measures have been taken by my Department to support all primary and post primary schools in the LDTF areas in addressing the substance use aspect of the SPHE curriculum. These include the appointment of additional staff dedicated to working with LDTF schools, two at primary level and one at post-primary level, and ongoing in[1515]service training for teachers and the dissemination of relevant resource materials to schools. The additional staff work in close collaboration with the LDTFs, Department of Health and Children officials, health board staff, teachers, parents and school authorities. In addition a once-off Walk Tall grant of €500 has been allocated to all primary schools in the LDTF areas. Schools may use the grant in order to purchase and provide resources associated with the implementation of Walk Tall in the context of the SPHE curriculum.

Evaluations of the implementation of Walk Tall and On My Own Two Feet in LDTF area schools are currently under way and the reports are expected to be available in the first half of 2003. The evaluations will determine how effectively substance use is being addressed in the context of SPHE and its associated resources.

The most recent survey by my Department, which was completed in early 2002, indicated that 71% of primary schools and 66% of post-primary schools in LDTF areas were implementing Walk Tall and On My Own Two Feet respectively. Further data will not be available until the evaluations, referred to above, are complete. However, I am confident that, with the very significant extra resources which have been made available to support LDTF schools, all the schools should now be in a position to implement both programmes.


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